The 2012 edition of the Miami Dolphins have already become a target for fans' frustrations, and the team has not even played a meaningful game yet. Clearly, a team with eleven rookies on the roster, including starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, is rebuilding and developing for the future. As Ben Volin of the Miami Herlad wrote, Miami Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino yesterday told fans they need to be patient with the team.
"Be patient," Marino said, speaking at the first Dolphins' Touchdown Club event o fthe season. "You look around the NFL and things don't just turn around overnight. Be patient with this group, and hopefully the young quarterback works out great for us.
"It can be frustrating for the average fan because there are expectations. Fans want to see winning football. But I believe they're making some decisions that are going in the right direction.
"Everything I hear about the coaches from other guys who worked with Joe Philbin around the league say he's terrific. He's going to be a Grade A coach for us."
On Sunday, Tannehill will do something even Marino did not do, becoming the first Miami quarterback to start Week 1 of the NFL season. The rookie was selected with the eighth overall pick, but was "known" to need time to develop before he was ready to start in the league. That all changed when David Garrard was injured and Tannehill simply outplayed Matt Moore.
"I would tell him to have a short memory," Marino stated, giving advice to Tannehill. "If you have some bad games, forget about it, Play with a lot of confidence. Obviously they all believe in him because they picked him and he's the starting quarterback. I would tell him, just go out there and turn it loose.
"There's a lot of pressure on him, but they're in a rebuilding phase right now, and I like the idea of starting a young quarterback right away," Marino said of Tannehill, who will become the first rookie starting quarterback in franchise history.
"Ryan Tannehill is going to have to grow with the people around him and learn as much as he can on the run."
Marino also took a moment to reflect on him getting ready for his first start, a Week 6 game against the Buffalo Bills. "My first start, after the national anthem, (safety) Lyle Blackwood comes over to me and he says, ‘You know Dan, it's your first start. I don't want you to feel any pressure at all, but if you play bad, we're going to lose.'"
The same is true this year. But, even if the Dolphins lose, as fans, we have to remember, this is just the beginning of a (hopefully) very long journey.